PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to picks@whowhatwhy.org.

People Haven’t Just Made the Planet Hotter. We’ve Changed the Way it Rains. (Maria)

The authors write, “You probably noticed a lot of weird weather in 2021. From record-breaking deluges and tropical storms to drought-stricken landscapes that erupted in wildfire, the nation seemed to lurch from one weather-related disaster to the next. You’re forgiven if you dismiss these events as unrelated, albeit unfortunate, phenomena. But they actually share a common bond — they’re all part of a new climate reality where supersized rainfalls and lengthening droughts have become the norm. Blame global warming.”

Rejoice — Kyrsten Sinema’s Political Career Is Already Over (Reader Steve)

From Talking Points Memo: “Amidst all the disappointment and tribulation of recent days please join me in taking a moment to step back, in a posture of mindful gratitude, to contemplate the fact that Kyrsten Sinema’s career in electoral politics is already over. Yes, the damage she’s already done will be difficult to remedy. She still has three solid years to do yet more damage. And she probably will. But none of that damage, none of the hijinks and characteristic game-playing to come, will or can change her electoral fate. In political terms, she’s already dead senator walking. And the most perplexing but paradoxically delightful part of it is that she doesn’t even seem to realize it yet.”

Tennessee-Based Adoption Agency Refuses to Help Couple Because They’re Jewish (DonkeyHotey)

From Knox News: “A Knoxville couple is suing the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, saying a state-sponsored Christian-based adoption agency refused to help them because they are Jewish. It is the state’s first lawsuit to challenge a new law that allows religious adoption agencies to deny service to families whose religious or moral beliefs aren’t in sync with the provider’s.”

MyPillow CEO Hit With Cease and Desist Letter From Idaho Over Bogus Election Fraud Claims (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Idaho officials have sent MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell a cease-and-desist letter and a bill of more than $6,000 over the businessman’s repeated accusations of voter fraud in the state. Secretary of State Lawerence Denney and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden sent the cease-and-desist letter to Lindell on Tuesday, the Idaho Statesman reported. The letter demands Lindell ‘promptly remove all false statements about Idaho’s elections from your website’ and ‘refrain from making similar statements in the future.’”

What’s in a Name? Why Turkey Is Now Türkiye (Sean)

From Afar: “Türkiye wants its name back. Nearly 100 years after becoming an independent republic, the country more widely known globally by its Western name, Turkey, is moving to reclaim its rightful identity on the global stage. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month announced an official rebranding, saying ‘The phrase Türkiye represents and expresses the culture, civilization and values of the nation in the best way.’ He also instructed that all goods made in the country be labeled as ‘Made in Türkiye,’ something many brands have been doing since the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly called on its members to make the change in 2000.”

Bugs Across Globe Are Evolving to Eat Plastic, Study Finds (Laura)

The author writes, “Microbes in oceans and soils across the globe are evolving to eat plastic, according to a study. The research scanned more than 200m genes found in DNA samples taken from the environment and found 30,000 different enzymes that could degrade 10 different types of plastic. The study is the first large-scale global assessment of the plastic-degrading potential of bacteria and found that one in four of the organisms analysed carried a suitable enzyme. The researchers found that the number and type of enzymes they discovered matched the amount and type of plastic pollution in different locations.”

Irish Police Investigating After Man’s Body Used in Apparent Attempt to Claim Pension (Dana)

From The Irish Times: “[Police] are investigating the death of a man in Carlow town, whose body was brought into a post office by two others in what appeared to be an attempt to claim the deceased’s pension. The bizarre series of events began when a man entered the post office at Hosey’s shop on Staplestown Road at about 11:30 am on Friday. The man wanted to collect a pension payment on behalf of an older man but was informed by a staff member that the pensioner would have to be present if a payment was to be made. The man left the post office and returned a short time later with two other men, one of whom was in his 60s. The two younger men are understood to have sought a pension payment for the third man, who it appeared was being propped up.”